It Was Blinding

by Brian Burke

It was blinding, the white light sped through the walls, not man nor beast alike could stand it. Filling the largest rooms and dripping through each crack and crevice it covered the town. Every last hole became consumed. The dense liquid poured its way between each opening and spewed until its heart was content. No one stood a chance. The light was coloured too. A rainbow burst of reds, oranges; yellows, greens, blues and violets appeared in a glow but never lingered long enough to be considered. The brightness attacked everything it touched smothering little objects while gorging upon walls, desks and doors, all this happened within a sigh. It reached ever further and further clawing until its hands held everything. No sirens sounded, no danger to be had, it had left as soon as it had come, a mere memory. Those that slept awakened with a shudder. The night creepers came visiting they thought, sweat came seeping from their pours, their nightgowns soaked; the stench of urine was close. It was their conscience playing tricks. The right of the Gods to play the moral card, surely it has happened before. In a different time only the elders held an answer.

Those that were awake when the brightness attacked knew a different faith. No one too simple for a laborious life, all time spent in libraries, studio's, and vaults studying pasts long gone. The annals of time a gentlemen's game, was being played, the theories encapsulating a gentleman's name. And those of us, who worked into the cusp of morning, blew the dust of men long dead and saw the glorious light. It converted some (toward the way of the deities), others believed it to be a sign of change (as the annals had foretold), yet no one could say from whence it came. To me it was too ferocious. I looked upon the town's whore-houses and witnessed the candle-lit rooms choke. It was truly terrifying and to my shame I cursed aloud the name of our Lady. The sound rang from ear to ear and clouded my mind, until I fell. It knocked me around my little room until I found the floor, and lay there for a while and watched a starless night's sky engulf me in its closing palm.

The memory frightens me to a severe extent. Some men see darkness and cry out. But me being scholarly and finding comfort in the peace of night, learned to nurture my instinctive love for darkness. Yet the stillness that followed me after experiencing the brightness of which I talk was shallow and hungry, and unfit for any man to bear. I distinctly remember no wind blowing after the shine crept back to its creator. The silence of the hour was filled by children just awakened and the scratching of curious feet against loose gravel. I sensed the magistrate would call a meeting and felt my way to my good gown. My fingers reached toward the closet which held my best, yet my eyes refused to open. I sighed out loud at my state. I was too proud to call my fellow brothers for help, yet too noble to address my condition. I feared the world for the first time in my life and it looked cruelly back and laughed.

I stood still waiting for my sight to return yet it never did, thinking of Ualickial and his Great Fever, Ingrind and the Sextuplets and Harriauds Burden. Each story played over and over in my mind. My strength was always my thoughts and now I would prove that knowledge was the knighthood for the intelligent. In doing so I grabbed the table, scattering notes in the process and knocking an ink well, I lifted my frail and aged body from the floor. In front of me stood my mirror, yet still I saw nothing. Walking to my wash basin I rubbed water into my eyes yet they refused to open. Finding flint on the oaken table I sparked a candle but again I was deigned to see. At this stage I was my fear turned to terror and I rubbed and scrawled my face until it was raw and bleeding.

Rising hours later I yawned and wiped the sleep that had fallen from my eyes. A puss that streamed down to my chin had left thick trails saw me picking at my face. Remembering the previous night I groaned heavily like a sailor after a night of spending. Opening my eyes I found the darkness. This time it was soothing. A misty black that hung within my head left for no one but me. It was my night that found the day. I crept off the bed and stood, oblivious to the paper on which I stood, the night was now mine to live in. Blinking I felt my lids scratch up and down, and yet still saw nothing.

Most men fear the dark and claim only the demons that come crawling from the emptiness in the late hours of the night, yet I fear no such time but crawl with them and fear the brightness which robbed my sight.

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